The University of Mississippi is acknowledged as one of the most beautiful college campuses. That beauty gives students a sense of pride.
UM Landscape Services, a 32-man crew, is responsible for maintaining the 1,000-acre campus.
“We have two mowing crews, a detail crew, which handles most of the horticultural aspects,” said Nathan Lazinsky, assistant superintendent of Landscape Services. “We also have a spray technician who handles the herbicide and pesticide applications. There are also two irrigation technicians as well.”
Lazinsky works hard with the crew to ensure that the campus is maintained properly. He said the university can attract more students if the campus looks well maintained.
“If the campus looks maintained and taken care of, students and their parents will assume we will take care of them as well,” he said.
According to studies, he said students will decide to attend a school in the first five minutes based on its appearance and safety level. He also said a prioritized goal is keeping trash to a minimum.
“Our number one priority is trash,” Lanzinsky said. “You can have the most beautiful campus in the nation and have 1,200 flowers that are all in bloom. But if there is one piece of trash in it, that’s going to draw your eye to it.”
The crew goes out every morning to pick up trash.
Landscape services has a seasonal approach to maintaining the campus. They like to make the campus look great for football season. Then they prepare everything to look nice for commencement. Lazinksy said having the campus prepared for commencement is very important.
“These are going to be our future leaders (referring to the new students),” he said. “Their parents are going to be coming here, so we want to make sure that it will be as enjoyable of an experience as it can be for them.”
The men and women involved with the university’s Landscape Services consider themselves “servant leaders.” Lazinsky said: “We understand that without the students, there would be no need for the landscape services,” he said. The dedication to maintaining campus beauty is all for the students.
“The staff is very proud, and the town is very proud, so we have a lot of support with that. It has become a culture of Ole Miss. Even if the football team, or other athletics are not doing that well, we still have this, and we still give people that sense of pride when they come here.”